Mahoning Matters is honored to be among the news organizations selected to receive a partial grant in 2020 from Report For America, a nonprofit news organization dedicated to supporting local journalism.
In applying for the grant, we sought to expand our brand of solutions-oriented local reporting with a focus on the dire financial situation facing the city of Youngstown. A 2018 financial review of the city projected a $16 million budget deficit by 2023, with multiple shortfalls expected by 2020.
We have an opportunity to analyze and explain the difficult choices facing the city of Youngstown and the potential effects of those choices on its residents.
This is a project made even more critical as the Mahoning Valley transitions into reopening and recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
ABOUT THIS PROJECT
Before we published our first Mahoning Matters story, we held community forums to get a sense of what was missing from local news and what readers wanted.
Out of those early forums, we found an interest in holding local government accountable and a better understanding of the availability of community services.
It was that feedback that led us to develop Mahoning Matters’ mission: To tell the stories that matter in Mahoning County and empower citizens to engage in their community with a focus on solutions.
In applying for the partial grant from Report for America, we sought to expand our brand of solutions-oriented local reporting with a focus on the dire financial situation facing the city of Youngstown. A 2018 financial review of the city projected a $16 million budget deficit by 2023, with multiple shortfalls expected by 2020.
With this new position from RFA, we have an opportunity to analyze and explain the difficult choices facing the city of Youngstown and the potential effects of those choices on its residents.
Our reporter will utilize database reporting to measure the impact of additional cuts as they are proposed and help to present fresh ideas for citizens and the city to cope with the tough times ahead.
SUPPORT FOR THIS PROJECT
This work would not be possible without the support of Report for America, who is helping to fund a reporter—Ellen Wagner—to dig deeper and highlight these systemic issues.
In July of 2020, the Thomases Family Endowment of the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation agreed to provide $5,000 in support of this special project. In the ensuing months leading up to our one-year anniversary, the Youngstown Foundation and the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley also came aboard, making significant contributions to Mahoning Matters and Report for America.**
We are so humbled that these pillars of the local funding community have come together to help us build a future for local journalism.
On our one-year anniversary we announced the creation of the Mahoning Matters Journalism Impact Fund* with the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley, which ensures our future contributions are managed professionally in the community. This fund will help support our accountability and solutions-oriented reporting in the months and years to come and will give us an avenue to begin accepting tax-deductible donations with our fiscal sponsor, the McClatchy Journalism Institute.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Through this project and with this reporter, we will make good on delivering what you want most from your local news: To help foster understanding and spark discussions that lead to community-centric solutions. Will you help us?
*Contributions to the Mahoning Matters Journalism Impact Fund are tax-deductible.
* Report for America is an initiative of The GroundTruth Project, a 501(c)3 nonprofit news organization.